The 2019 Australian macadamia crop is forecasted to reach between 49,900 – 53,500 tonnes as reported by Australian Macadamia Society (AMS), a very slight increase on the record 2018 crop. The 2019 season has not been without challenge, unseasonably dry conditions were experienced throughout all growing areas. According to key industry personnel, these conditions have delayed expansion of new orchards and the onset of nuts in younger trees. The full effect of the dry conditions will not be entirely clear until after harvest.
Despite the weather conditions, the 2019 crop has had the benefit of several developments within the pest and disease sector. The introduction of a minor use permit and new pest name for an old foe, a focus on protecting flowers and for Imtrade new products in the marketplace focusing on providing better value for our growers. This season Imtrade has released Cyborg and Acephate 970 into the macadamia market providing an Australian owned option adding to our ever-growing range of products developed here in Australia. Cyborg and Acephate 970 are the two most recent registrations into the macadamia market space. Over the coming years expect more exciting products coming through the Imtrade pipeline. For Imtrade’s range of macadamia products see our Macadamia handbook.
Lace Bug and botrytis caused significant problems through some growing areas this season. A project initiated in 2014 between UNSW, AMS, NSW DPI and Hort Innovation looking at better understanding Lace Bug is nearing completion. Currently, Lace Bug controls are proving effective but with all available chemistry there are reports of damage to beneficial populations. Botrytis blight caused significant damage in some areas with rainfall over the flowering period putting it front of mind for researchers. There are currently limited options for control of blossom blight in macadamias.
As of June 2018, renowned pest known industry-wide as ‘Sigastus’ is now officially named as ‘Macadamia Seed Weevil’, Kuschelorhynchus macadamiae. The genus is named after Guillermo (Willy) Kuschel (1918–2017), who was known for his contributions to the knowledge of weevil fauna worldwide. The second part of the name is Latin in origin from the Greek noun rhynchos (snout). The Macadamia Seed Weevil was again prevalent through the Northern Rivers area. The introduction of a minor use permit for use of Indoxacarb was widely adopted with varying levels of success reported on the ground. As with all new chemistry options provided another tool in the IPM, timing, coverage, hygiene are key to the success of macadamia seed weevil control.
Harvest is well underway in most areas and demand is strong with prices holding well providing a good return for growers industry-wide.